Saturday, October 5, 2013

Ten Reasons Why You Should Love BADFINGER! (Other than "Baby Blue", of course)

Ten Reasons Why You Should Love 


(Other than "Baby Blue", of course)

     You've all heard/read the story over the last week: the series finale of Breaking Bad played a certain song called "Baby Blue" at the end of the episode as (spoiler alert) Walter White dies.  The tune was a song performed by British quartet Badfinger.  I believe that half the band were Welsh and the other half were Liverpudlian, but the articles I've read have listed them as either Welsh or Liverpudlian, but not half 'n' half.  But hey, I could be wrong.. but that's not important!  What IS important is that the song either introduced or reintroduced Badfinger and their music to an audience of 10 million viewers.  Not bad, eh? (no pun intended). 

There are many of us who have followed Badfinger since the late '60s and early '70s when their music first started to make waves on the radio.  Since you've probably read the band's story in all the other articles, I don't need to go into it here. What I will say is that there were plenty of Beatles connections during Badfinger's early '70s rise. The tragic suicides of original members Pete Ham and Tommy Evans have also been the focus of some of the articles.  Even drummer Mike Gibbins sadly passed away nearly a decade ago.  Guitarist Joey Molland remains the only surviving member of the band and he's clearly enjoying the attention, although it is bittersweet.

    But let's be honest: the most important thing about Badfinger is not their tragic story or their sudden rise in the charts due to a TV show!  The main reason you are even reading this right now is that they created tremendous and timeless music during their time together (1969-1975 and then 1979-1981).  Their Apple Records releases get the most attention, but the original line-up recorded two great albums for Warner Brothers in 1974 before things really fell apart.  

     Most of the articles I've read only mention Badfinger's story up to that point in time, and rightly so because the focus on the Pete Ham years.  However, there is more to their story than you've read... and certainly more than I can put on this blog...

     First off, Ham quit the band in late '74 and was replaced by keyboardist Bob Jackson. Pete was persuaded back but then Molland left  The band then went into the studio in early 1975 to record a third album for Warner Bros called Head First.  Some say the album was finished while others say the tracks were nothing but great quality demos.  In any case, the album was rejected by WB and wouldn't see a release for nearly 30 years.  Ham committed suicide in 1975, and Badfinger was no more...

     Until 1979, that is.  Molland and Evans reunited and released Airwaves, which featured a great collection of songs. The production was perhaps a bit too smooth, but it was great to hear Tom and Joey recording together again. Two years later, they returned with the even better Say No More album (one of my favorites alongside Straight Up and Wish You Were Here) but tensions within the band caused a split between Molland and Evans and they went their separate ways... again.  Evans recruited Gibbins and Jackson and began touring in the U.S. as Badfinger.  Molland formed his own version of the band and supposedly took legal action to stop Evans' touring 'finger. Dejected and facing legal and financial woes, Tommy Evans committed suicide in 1983.  Since then, Molland has released a few solo albums and continues to tour with his version of Badfinger. 

     Now that you are caught up, I'll let the music speak for itself.  You've heard "Baby Blue" enough over the last week and I'd like to present 10 more of Badfinger's finest musical moments.  They have much more music available to purchase than I can list here, but I'll give you their other big hits plus some personal favorites that you should check out.  Badfinger are more than worthy of your time, so stop what you are doing and give them a listen...

(NOTE: This is by no means an attempt to compile the 10 best Badfinger songs.  I am merely compiling a list of great songs by an amazing band in hopes that you give them a listen and investigate their back catalog even further.  I'm sure that some will find my choices questionable and would pick an entirely different list than mine. But, in the end, I am not proclaiming myself an expert - just a fan!)

From the album No Dice (1970)

From the album Straight Up (1972)

From the album Airwaves (1979)

Written by Paul McCartney. From the album Magic Christian Music (1970)

Written by Pete and Tommy.  From the Nilsson album Nilsson Schmilsson (1971)

From the album Say No More (1981)

From the album Wish You Were Here (1974)

From the album Badfinger (1974)

 From the album Wish You Were Here (1974)

From the album Airwaves (1979)

Also Available:
The Very Best Of Badfinger

Peace, love and Badfinger,
Stephen SPAZ Schnee

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